Tenancy agreements and legalities

Leaving home for the first time can be exciting. It can also be scary, once you have signed a ‘tenancy agreement’ with your landlord you are legally bound by the contract so it is vital that you make sure you fully understand your contract – including all the small print.

Your tenancy agreements will contain

  • The amount of rent per week or month. Plus, the amount of deposit required (usually up to 1 month’s rent).
  • The length of the tenancy, which can be anything from 3 months to 18 months.
  • The rights you and your landlord will have under the law.

Checklist

Before you sign any ‘tenancy agreement’, make sure you have checked for everything below:

  • Do not sign the tenancy agreement if you do not know what all of it means.
  • Make sure you get someone to check over the agreement for any hidden extras.
  • Make sure you fully understand all the terms and conditions and you know your rights as a tenant.
  • Get a copy of the agreement.
  • Make sure you make an inventory (list) of things that are working in the property before you sign.
  • Make sure you know exactly how much you will be paying each month and for your deposit.
  • Make sure you ask whether you have an ‘assured short hold tenancy’. This means that your landlord cannot ask you to leave without a good reason during the first six months of living in your accommodation.
  • Always keep receipts for monies paid to the landlord.

What is security of tenure

If you have rented a room from a landlord in a house, flat or bedsit you will have basic protection from eviction.

If you share living space with your landlord you will be termed as an ‘excluded tenant’ or ‘licensee’. This means you could be evicted at any time and you are not protected by any UK law.

Make sure you ask whether you have an ‘assured short hold tenancy’ which means that your landlord cannot ask you to leave without a good reason during the first six months of living in your accommodation.

Who can help?

For any information regarding housing or tenancy agreements contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or log on to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/.

For any legal or specialist advice contact your local housing aid centre, Shelterline (the 24-hour freephone helpline 0808 800 4444) or e-mail info@shelter.org.uk.

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